Eastern Ukraine: 17 dead after explosion in coal mine

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On Thursday, a gas explosion occurred in a coal mine in the village of Jurjiwka, about 30 kilometers southwest of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. Five dead and 12 missing persons were reported on Friday. Now, the "president" of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic, Leonid Pasetschnik, confirmed that rescue workers had recovered 17 bodies from the rubble.

Pasekhnik described the incident on Twitter as a "tragedy". Earlier, the former secret service chief had declared Monday the next day of remembrance for the dead.

The Luhansk region has been under the control of pro-Russian rebels since 2014. Russia had announced that it would provide forces and equipment to help find the missing miners.

According to local media, the mine was closed in 2014 due to the conflict between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russian rebels. In 2018 she was reopened.

Most of the Ukrainian coal is mined in the east of the country. For years, government forces have been fighting against rebels backed by Russia. Since the conflict began, around 13,000 people have been killed.

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